Commentary

Is Mass Media Killing Our Culture?

I just sat through a good portion of the Grammies with some friends of mine and we were all talking about music, what we like, what we don’t. And it hit me. Nothing that I saw performed was written by the performers. All the thought and energy of one of the biggest events in music was placed on putting hacks into recyclable positions on stage.

The people in control of the media are killing everything good about our culture. Artists no longer emerge from the settling of those who lack ability; they are forged from a factory that molds cheap knock-offs and imitations.

Mel Brooks was right -
“God willing we’ll all be reunited in Spaceballs II: The Search for More Money”

How does it happen? Hilary Duff craps out our New Years, Carrie Underwood + Rascal Flats spit on the Eagles, mean while those that have real talent, are left unrecognized. People are dying in Iraq and the only thing we care about is if Anna Nicole Smith overdosed on TrimSpa.

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Don’t get me wrong, I love mass media, I browse everyday through the magazine racks at Wal-Mart, but what is it doing to our culture? It infects what we perceive as talent and quality; destroys our history. Media is now used to only make paper stars that are all working for corporate bottom-line thinking. If you can’t make the money, they’ll take out the trash. But there is no substance. American Idol creates a star from a karaoke singer.

What will be the result of this? Don’t know. But let my own lack of a voice be heard – I’ll never watch the Grammies again.

4 comments about "Is Mass Media Killing Our Culture?".
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  1. George Hayes from GTH Consulting, February 21, 2007 at 10:26 a.m.

    Dustin, interesting observation. But I don't think you have to worry. Mass media is no longer so "mass" and I think the quality of the Grammies, for example, is an indication that mass media is taking its last breath. What is replacing it is aggregated media -- culture that is shared by a large group of individuals who are not necessarily found at the same place or point in time. Technology allows this dispersed group to be united. So, take heart!

  2. Joseph Luchok, February 21, 2007 at 10:55 a.m.

    Singer-songwriters are alive and well, just have to look beyond the mass media. The Grammies have never been about the best--remember, the Beatles never won when they putting out hit after hit. Some great singer- songwriters under the radar today--Suzanne Vega, Aimee Mann, John Stewart just put out a new album, Richard Thompson, Sarah McLachlan, John Legend as mentioned above, and many others.

  3. Bob Adler from Adler Media Services, February 21, 2007 at 11:03 a.m.

    I think you are being too sweepingly critical of performers. For example, Tony Bennett doesn't write songs and Frank Sinatra didn't write his songs.
    Of course, some performers are 'manufactured' for pop culture and many of those can be dismissed, but some do have talent.
    If the 'ideal' is the combination singer/songwriter, I endorse that - especially since my son is one (check out www.torey.com ).
    But, the key to your issue is really in the phrase 'mass media', which by definition has to appeal to the broadest audiences to justify the advertising support that is the primary revenue stream in their business model.This isn't a new problem - we could trace it back to the beginning of TV and probably to radio, the first 'mass medium' supported by advertising.
    For more cultural 'authenticity', go to smaller venues such as coffee houses and clubs, like Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs NY or listen to non-commercial radio like WFUV-FM in NYC.

  4. R. M. from self, February 21, 2007 at 5:48 p.m.

    Just a suggestion: back away from the Walmart rack and put down the TV remotes long enough to go see/hear as much LIVE music as you possibly can. Support local artists... as mentioned above mega-monstrosities (Clear Channel, etc) will never support singer/songwriters until they get big enough to make $$$ off of them. Become the fan base & bring your friends to make the truly talented succeed. A $10-20 cover is a lot more do-able for most people anyhow. Most of those starting out would love to have local fans & to shoot the breeze with you after their set, talking about what good music can do in the world. But when you buys the tabloids (feed $ to papparazzi) you're taking a step backwards, not forwards. I challenge you to NOT "love the mass media," but to be yourself and don't read/buy the lowest common denominator crap. PS- the NPR station WFUV is a good choice for its archives, as well as other AAA format stations: WXRT, KPRI, KINK which all stream.

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